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Research Initiatives

LTC Student Research Challenge

The goal of the LTC’s Student Research Challenge is to find creative solutions to difficult questions surrounding the Inland Empire transportation system. Research will be conducted by multi-disciplinary teams of students from the three major public universities in the region. This project will get regional students (undergraduate and graduate) from CSUSB, Cal Poly Pomona, and UC Riverside to think innovatively, learn research techniques, and find solutions to the tough transportation related questions facing the region.

Specific Research Program Outputs:

To find innovative solutions to problems and questions surrounding the IE transportation system. Each project will address some or all of the following:

  • mobility;
  • climate change/pollution reduction/community adaptation;
  • new industries/entrepreneurship based in transportation technologies;
  • smart city technologies;
  • international and domestic impacts/forces on the system to understand; and
  • transportation cybersecurity in the public sector.

2021-2022 Challenge

Topic: How to improve the Inland Empire’s transit system using Big Data and Policy solutions.

The second Student Research Challenge group has begun researching how big data can help to improve the I.E.'s transit system. The primary question for the research group is -- to what extent can the paradigms of big data analytic be used for understanding the transit system in the Inland Empire? The goal of the LTC 2021 Student Research Challenge is to explore these opportunities, from the day-to-day operation of the transit system to the long-term strategic planning of the region’s transportation system.

A rich set of data are being collected by the public transit agencies in the Inland Empire. Major data sources available for this project including: 1) automated fare collection system, which provide passenger count and timestamp at bus stops; 2) GPS trace and OBD-II readings, which record bus location, speed and diagnostic readings at second-by-second level; and 3) Battery level and charging schedule, which are available for electric buses.

The research results will be available in summer of 2022. Check back to see how this project is moving forward as we post updates throughout the year.  


Student application deadline -  April 1, 2021

Students selected - May 1, 2021

Project begins - June 1, 2021

For more information, contact the LTC at

2020-2021 Challenge 

The inaugural LTC Research Group Challenge focused on the issues of sustainability and equity in the Inland Empire's transportation system. The team was able to evaluate the areas within sustainability and equity in transportation that can be approved upon, as well as what those improvements can look like. Circling back to our definitions of sustainability and equity in the context of transportation, the research and data evaluated in our subprojects emphasizes that more efforts need to be made in the Inland Empire in order to improve the sustainability and equitability of its transportation systems. 

Overall, this research has emphasized how broad the issues of sustainability and equity within transportation really are. Transcending through different disciplines, transportation plays a crucial role in our daily lives, and being able to provide sustainable and equitable mobility options is crucial in the overall success of the Inland Empire. 

Meet the 2020 Research Team 

Oscar Corona

Oscar Corona is a recent graduate from UCR with a bachelor’s in philosophy. He was formerly an intern at the Office of Sustainability at UCR and a Carbon Neutrality Initiative Fellow where he focused on the subject of transportation. His favorite hobbies include playing music, board games and cruising around on his skateboard. As a resident of the IE he is excited to work on this research with the potential to help the transportation network of the area.

Vanessa Gonzalez


Vanessa Gonzalez holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Affairs from UC Riverside, as well as an M.A. in Social Science and Globalization from CSU San Bernardino. For the majority of her academic career she has focused on the politics that drive international relations. However, she recently has shifted that focus towards applying her analytical skills towards micro-level issues that affect local politics and communities. As a future educator and resident of the Inland Empire, Vanessa recognizes the importance of establishing equitable and sustainable transportation solutions for all in the region.

Marven Norman


Marven Norman is an Inland Empire native and has spent many years traveling around the region by bike, bus, car, foot, and train. He has been more closely involved in bicycle and pedestrian advocacy for many years and takes an avid interest in sustainable transportation and urban design. As a graduate of the CSUSB MPA program, he is focused on good and effective government and brings a wealth of perspectives and viewpoints to the team in the search for answers to the issues which face our growing region.

Christian Lua

Christian Lua is currently a proud CPP Bronco in his final year at Cal Poly Pomona as an urban and regional planning undergraduate and is the first in his family to attend a university. Born and raised in the Inland Empire, Christian has seen how the Inland Empire is growing and developing rapidly. With his other interests related to his current major like architecture, environmental studies, and policy, he hopes to bring his interests and utilize his planning background to the LTC research with his team. In the planning field, he has experience as an intern in public health planning with Riverside County’s Riverside University Health System (RUHS). He is currently an intern with the City of Anaheim working on projects with the departments of Community and Economic Development and Planning, and currently is the University Liaison with the American Planning Association – Inland Empire Section (IES-APA). In his free time, he enjoys hiking, going to the beach, playing soccer, and spending time with his friends and family.

Nicole Aquino


Nicole Aquino is a fourth-year civil engineering student at Cal Poly Pomona interested in the transportation and traffic engineering industries. She is an active member of her campus community, serving as Cal Poly Pomona’s ASCE Vice President Internal and ITE Membership Chair. Nicole is also a Civil Engineering Intern at WSP USA where she works on rail projects, and she is looking forward to working as a Student Research Assistant at CSUSB’s Leonard Transportation Center and learning more about the transportation industry!

Junior Faculty Research Challenge -- Call for Proposals 

The Leonard Transportation Center Junior Faculty Fellowship program recognizes and supports junior faculty to conduct transportation-related research in the Inland Empire. The one-year fellowship includes a stipend up to $10,000. The fellowship supports junior faculty from regional universities as they test new research ideas, pursue unique collaborations and build a network of colleagues who share their interest in improving the transportation systems in our local community. Multidisciplinary research and faculty-student collaboration are encouraged, preference will be given to proposals in the following areas:

Proposals are accepted year round, please contact the staff at the Leonard Transportation Center to discuss your ideas. 

  1. Understanding the challenges and finding possible solutions for enhanced transportation mobility in suburban, inland ports
  2. Emerging applications in the transportation systems and transportation cybersecurity

For more information, contact the LTC at